Finally the movie arrived in Germany and I had the chance to see it. Two months after its release in the United States. I really had to fight with myself to not watch any released reviews about the movie. I did not want to spoil the film for me. I’m a little proud of myself for that.
Since it is Ridley Scott’s return to Scifi, since Blade Runner in 1982, expectations were high. I personally am a long time Ridley Scott fan. He’s a master with constructing images, composition and depth. I wanted to see him working with a Scifi setting for a long time. I also wanted to get some answers regarding the Alien of course. We got a lot of both. But was it enough?
The movie is about some scientists, who discover that the human race must have descended from another species, that previously landed on earth, created that first spark of life, that lead to what we are now. From ancient cave paintings, scattered around the world, these scientists also discover hints that point to a star system. The Weyland Corporation finances a big project to find out what’s behind all this. The ship ‘Prometheus’ and its crew, along with the scientists, starts a journey to find out what’s behind it all. Once they arrive they immediately find the planet and prepare to land. On their way down they also immediately find some structures that can only be artificially created. Again immediately they go out and explore. In these pyramids they find remnants of an ancient race they refer to as ‘The Engineers’. Obviously something wrong must have happened because they find old fossil dead bodies. Of course they have no idea what exactly happened and keep looking around. And that’s when the movie starts to roll.
The main characters in the movie are Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), David (Michael Fassbender), Captain Janek (Idris Elba) and Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron). All other characters do indeed fall a little flat. Which is a downer. Nonetheless you can see that all of the actors tried to get the most out of their parts.
Noomi Rapace delivers a good performance, even if her character doesn’t have too much depth either. But she manages it to build up sympathies. Especially when it comes to the scientist parts. In the beginning of the movie, whenever she talks about her field, you can see a sparkle in her eyes. The character really loves her work.
Michael Fassbender plays the android David. For me he rivals Elizabeth Shaw as the main character in the movie. I must also say that Fassbender should be considered for an Academy Award for this part. The whole all around performance of him… the way he moves, the way he talks and especially the way his emotions work… just great. The fact that an android doesn’t have real emotions, and that Fassbender has to portrait the try of an android to show emotion, worked amazingly good with him. While the humans in the movie are looking for their creators… the character of David already lives amongst them. We can see how disappointed he is, finding out that his creators are far from perfect. That he himself is actually more perfect than his creators.
Captain Janek is in command of the Prometheus. Idris Elba does a good job playing a space ship captain, that has probably seen a lot of things in his career. A captain that is willing to take necessary risks. Even though in the beginning of the movie we get the feeling he is also someone who got his orders. And he follows these orders. No matter what. This character had some development throughout the movie. He has to make some hard decisions.
Meredith Vickers is the chief of operation. She’s there to overlook the whole endeavour. Charlize Theron was pretty much the perfect cast for this character since Meredith Vickers is a very cold person. I think I remember seeing her smile only once in the whole film. Originally she was asked to play Elizabeth Shaw. But I think Noomi Rapace was the better pick for that role. Charlize Theron just looks too good for that. Scientists don’t look that way. Charlize Theron is also an actress that gets better and better with her age. I can see her doing some very impressive things in the future.
While the movie does play in the ‘Alien’ universe and shares connections to the other films, it does nonetheless stand on its own feet and tries to tell a different story. It does answer questions from the previous movies and also raises new ones. Which is no problem for me. You just can’t answer everything. You have to leave some things open to keep the audience stimulated and the mystery alive. Especially when it comes to the concept the movie shows. The whole idea about that we humans are an artificially, by aliens, engineered species. Which isn’t too far-fetched from my point of view. It’s mind-boggling to think about how many circumstances/coincidents are needed to create life. Especially life that developes into such a highly complex organism like a human being. The possibility that we’re engineered is there. At least for me.
Right now there are talks that there will be a Directors Cut. As usual… with Ridley Scott movies. I also hope that this Directors Cut will add material that fills all the little holes when it comes to the flat character portrayal. The theatrical released cut is very very flawed if you watch this movie with a critical point of view. Of course you need to have characters that do completely stupid moves to create some shock moments… especially in an Alien movie. But a lot of the decisions by the characters are just brainless. The death of Meredith Vickers seems also very constructed and unnecessary the way they set it up. There is also no rational explanation why the Engineers are so hostile towards us humans. Considering that they will add 20-40 minutes of new material to the Directors Cut, we might get some more depth and explanations with that one. I really hope!
In my final words I want to make clear that I enjoyed the movie. It has flaws… big ones, but I can see past that. Visually it’s surely one of the best Scifi movies ever made. The 3d worked really nice and was worth the extra cash. For now I hope the Directors Cut will help to make the movie even better. But even after seeing the movie a second time, it still was fresh and entertaining.